Turnout in the ballot was 49% with 92% of businesses by number voting in favour and 84% in favour by size. With businesses emphatically giving their backing to the scheme, it now means that they will have the power to choose where their money is invested to improve services, so attracting more customers to the town centre and the seafront.
A fund of up to £2.7 million will now be available across four areas of investment drawn directly from suggestions made by the business involved - Improving Town Safety, Winning New Customers, Raising Standards and Working for Businesses.
The money will be invested over the 5 year lifetime of the BID, starting from April 2013.
The Southend BID project has been led by the Town Centre Partnership. Chair Dawn Jeakings says “This is absolutely fantastic news and will ensure that Southend can enjoy an even brighter future. I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who participated in the ballot resulting in them voting ‘yes’ by a majority to our plans. I would also like to thank all people who have worked tirelessly to help make the BID become a reality.”
She added “In what is a difficult economic climate, Southend getting the BID will play a crucial role to the future growth and prosperity of our town centre and sea front. It will allow us to deliver the improvements the businesses of Southend are telling us they need most. This is an exciting opportunity to have direct input into the future of our town and do something to really make a difference. Many have told me they want to see Southend attract new shops and businesses – now Southend has become a BID we can work together to make that a reality. It’s hugely exciting.”
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council fully backed the BID. Deputy Leader John Lamb says: “This successful vote shows the extent to which businesses in Southend Town Centre and on the seafront are committed to working together, to achieve the best possible outcomes for everyone in the town. The BID will help us become an even stronger force to be reckoned with. We are very grateful indeed to all those who have said yes to taking this hugely positive step forward.”
The positive vote is being welcomed by leading figures across the town. Philip Miller MBE, Executive Chairman of the Stockvale Group (Adventure Island & Sea-Life Adventure) says “I am absolutely delighted we have been successful in getting the BID.
Our main competitors are out of town shopping centres and leisure destinations and their fundamental advantage is the strategic planning they are able to undertake based on a centralised management structure. Southend getting the BID re-addresses that balance and provides us with the plan and the means to improve our town.”
Member since: 10th July 2012
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